New Hope's Bucks County Playhouse has a long tradition of sending actors on to stardom, but this time the ascension starts backstage: Playhouse producing director Jed Bernstein on Wednesday was named president of New York City's Lincoln Center. He'll succeed Reynolds Levy in January.
Bernstein was already an industry veteran when he reopened the dormant playhouse last year, having led the Broadway League for 11 years. Under his leadership, the playhouse announced a 2013 summer season that includes a new Terrence McNally play, Mothers and Sons, starring Tyne Daly, and a coproduction with the Media Theatre of Mame, starring Andrea McArdle.
"I know the best days are still to come for the playhouse," Bernstein said in a statement. He expressed particular gratitude to Kevin and Sherri Daugherty, who created the Bridge Street Foundation that led to the playhouse's reopening after 18 months of inactivity.
Bernstein's hometown appears to be welcoming him back, starting with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who called him "the perfect choice" in light of his work at nearly all levels of production.
"Jed does everything 'all-in,' so I know he'll bring passion and terrific ideas to this exciting new stage" of his career, said Rocco Landesman, former National Endowment for the Arts chairman and a Broadway producer.
Bernstein's strengths were enumerated by Lincoln Center board chair Katherine Farley: "He is an accomplished fund-raiser who has produced results in developing new revenue streams and corporate sponsorships. He understands how to leverage digital platforms to engage new audiences, and has deep experience in piloting complex collaborations."
Lamenting his departure, the Daughertys said in a statement that they would aim high for his replacement, adding, "In the meantime, we look forward to another wonderful summer of great live theater in New Hope."
Opening in 1939 in a former grist mill on the Delaware River, the playhouse has hosted such established stars as Bert Lahr, Colleen Dewhurst, Helen Hayes, and Kitty Carlisle Hart, as well as Grace Kelly and Robert Redford when they were up-and-comers.